Superheroes And Students Collide At Claremont Comic Book Community


If you’re interested in popular culture icons and stories of superhuman powers, the Claremont Comic Book Community, C3, may be the club for you.

William Ortiz PZ ’19 started the club in fall of 2015. In C3, he created a setting to talk about comic book lore: comics, TV shows, movies, and events that happened because of comics.

To Ortiz, comic books are not only a hobby but can often serve as social commentary on what is happening in the surrounding world.

“Just looking at how characters have changed and the actions they take can represent the different ideas people have in the country,” Ortiz said.

As an example, Ortiz brought up the classic hero Superman.

“[Superman] is very much an example of the power a common person can have because in the time he was created, there was very much a distrust of authority,” Ortiz said. “There was a kind of paranoia about the different people in power, who could control the lives of regular people.”

C3’s activities, Ortiz elaborated, usually include regular meetings, moving screenings on campus, movie outings in the village, as well as off-campus trips, such as conventions.

As for future activities, Ortiz described a new project that C3 is implementing.

“We’re trying to do something called ‘oneshot,’ where we have lunch meetings discussing specific topics,” Ortiz said.

The meetings would serve mainly for closer examination on the social aspects of comics, he explained.

“Those [lunch meetings] are going to be more on representation of people of different colors, artists and their communities, writers and the way they go through a process, and looking at behind-the-scene aspects of different things in comics,” Ortiz said.

For C3 member Anika Arvanitis PO ’20, the club presents an opportunity to keep updated on events in the comic book world.

“I like when we go to movies together because, afterwards, we can debrief together,” Arvanitis wrote in an email to TSL. “It’s a pretty diverse club, so I get to hear opinions that differ from my own.”

C3 member Lilian Rangel CM ’21 agreed.

“I love when we go off-topic in our discussions and explore a new topic not covered,” Rangel wrote in an email to TSL. “This allows people to teach other members of the cub something new in the comic book community and can lead to more new and fun discussions.”

In fact, Arvanitis wants to have more C3 discussion-based activities in the future.

“It’s hard, though,” Arvanitis said, “because some of us are more into DC or Marvel or an indie publisher, or some of us are more into TV and movies than physical comic books.”

Sarah Varenhorst PO ’20, public relations representative, explained that the club has become a great stress-reliever. One of the goals of C3 in regards to the future, is to make the club more collaborative and reach out to different people and minority populations on campus, Varenhorst said.

“It’s also a really great space to explore an interest such as comics … and approach that interest from a more intersectional viewpoint than one could traditionally get from just, like, joining forums online or something,” Varenhorst wrote in an email to TSL.

Varenhorst also mentioned that the comic community “is heavily dominated by cishet white men.” To her, C3 stands out as a club that “has a lot of conversations around new characters of different identities.”

Ortiz invites anyone interested in comics to come to the weekly meetings in the Digital Tool Shed in Honnold Mudd Library.

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